Tapa: How To Make Filipino-Style Beef Tapa

Tapa is beef, mutton, venison, or horse meat, dried or preserved. However, sometimes other meat or even fish may be used. Filipinos use thin slices of beef for cooking tapa, curing them with salt and spices as a means of preservation.

The tapa is often fried or grilled. It is known as tapsilog when eaten with fried rice and a fried egg. Sometimes it comes as a side dish with atchara (pickled papaya strips), or sliced tomatoes. Vinegar or ketchup are used as condiments.

Traditionally, the beef is cured and then dried or smoked for preservation But the procedure has been simplified in recent years by merely marinating the meat to infuse flavor. Modern techniques have forgotten about the drying process.

Filipino-Style Beef Tapa

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Filipino

The marination time is 8 hours. However, the cooking time is about 20 minutes. This recipe is suitable for at least four servings. 

Photo credit: @ketokitchxen / Instagram.com

Filipino-Style Beef Tapa Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup calamansi juice
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 pounds beef sirloin, thinly sliced
  • canola oil

Filipino-Style Beef Tapa Instructions

Step 1: Mix soy sauce, calamansi juice, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Step 2: Stir until salt and sugar dissolve.

Step 3: Add beef and massage the marinade into it completely. Keep it in the refrigerator to cure overnight. Drain the excess marinade from the meat.

Step 4: Heat about one tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium heat.

Step 5: Place beef in a single layer and cook for around 3 to 5 minutes or until liquid (the meat will disperse liquid) is nearly absorbed, turning on sides.

Step 6: Add another one tablespoon of oil and continue cooking until the meat has browned slightly.

Step 7: Remove from saucepan and cut into portions for serving. Serve warm with rice and other sides.

Filipino-Style Beef Tapa Additional Information

  • In Philippine languages, tapa originally meant smoking preserved fish or meat. It came to refer to meats also preserved by other means during the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines.
  • Per serving, this recipe has 164 calories, 8g of carbohydrates, 4g of fat, and 21g of protein. 

Image source: m.noxqsiz.com

About Filipino-Style Beef Tapa

Tapa has been associated with the dish tapsilog. The term tapsilog identifies three main components of the dish: tapa (slices of beef), sinangag (fried garlic rice), and itlog (fried egg).

Usually, tapa is made by marinating the beef in a special sauce or mixture, then by drying it out in the light. This method gives the meat a sweet, savory taste and a slightly chewy feel to it. Many groceries and restaurants come from Pampanga, a province famed for its booming meat industry and the culinary prowess of its people.

When the Chinese merchants came and introduced the natives to condiments such as soy sauce, they soon learned to marinate the meat before drying to give it a deeper taste. Early Filipinos were also most likely exposed to the Chinese wok around this time and, as a result, to the marvel that is fried rice became popular.


Today, more and more restaurants create many variations of tapa. Tapsilog, on the other hand, has become everyone’s favorite go-to meal everywhere in the Philippines. For more international and Filipino dishes, click here.

Featured Image: @lex_cookwithlove / Instagram.com, @melan.eats.sd / Instagram.com